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ballymun 1967ballymun 1967

The years moved on for both me and Dublin. The city was changing fast and I was becoming a young teenager. Music was all that I lived for during that period of my life, or so it seemed! My house was on Shanglass Road in the Northern suburbs of Dublin City. The only ‘real’ pop music that my friends and I could listen to came from a pirate radio station called Radio Caroline. We still had those old transistor radios and because the signal from the station was poor we used to put the radio up against the nearest telephone poll/mast on our road to boost it.

Well I walked up to her and I asked her if she wanted to dance

She looked awful nice and so I hoped she might take a chance

Radio Caroline was an English radio station founded in 1964 by Ronan O'Rahilly to evade the record company’s control of pop music broadcasting in the UK.  At the time, BBC Radio had a total monopoly of music and control of the airways. Since the station was unlicensed by any government it was considered a pirate radio station. Radio Caroline began regular programming on the 28th of March, 1964 from the MV Caroline, a former coaster from an anchorage off Ramsey, Isle of Man. It broadcast as Radio Caroline North. Its sister vessel (the MV Mi Amigo) remained off the coast of Essex broadcasting as Radio Caroline South.

Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean

To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?

Here in Ireland all we had was Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE), the official state broadcaster and another monopoly. If you thought the BBC was limited in what it played, RTE was absolutely pathetic. So for us kids it had to be Radio Caroline and man did we love it! The sad truth of the day is that without Caroline none of us would have heard much of what was happening in the wider music world.

Purple haze all in my brain

lately things don't seem the same

Acting funny and I don't know why

Excuse me while I kiss the sky

However like all good things it had to come to an end.

In 1966 British Postmaster General Anthony Wedgwood Benn introduced a Bill in the UK Parliament that outlawed unlicensed offshore broadcasting. It became known as the Marine Offences Act and was enacted on 14th August 1967. The two Radio Caroline ships continued to broadcast with operations controlled from the Netherlands. The end came in March 1968 when both ships were towed to the Netherlands because of unpaid bills by the Wijsmuller tug company. And that was that.

But Dublin as a city didn’t stop. No way. The Ballymun housing project, courtesy of Dublin Corporation’s Housing committee was well on its way.

The scheme was the ‘first out of town’; high rise housing project in Dublin and at the time was desperately needed to ease the appalling inner city conditions that pertained. It centered around seven landmark residential towers named after the seven leaders of the 1916 rising; Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Sean MacDermott, Eamonn Ceannt, Thomas Clarke, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett.

Whilst there is no doubt that it did provide new and badly needed proper accommodation for thousands of inner city Dubliners, it soon evolved into a “ghetto” of sorts eventually mirroring to some degree the same social and living conditions that it had been built to eradicate.

Yet for us five O’Driscoll kids, none of this mattered. For us, “the beat went on”! As Dublin changed, other things were changing in me.

Something's gotten hold of my hand

Dragging my soul to a beautiful land, yeah

1967 hits

Long John Baldry - Let the Heartaches Begin

The Beach Boys - Then I Kissed Her

The Beatles - Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever

The Beatles - All You Need Is Love

The Bee Gees – Massachusetts

Petula Clark - This Is My Song

Cream - I Feel Free

The Dubliners - Seven Drunken Nights

The Foundations - Baby, Now That I Found You

The Four Tops - Standing In The Shadows of Love

Bobby Gentry - Ode To Billie Joe

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Purple Haze

The Hollies - Carrie-Anne

The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

The Mamas & The Papas - Dedicated To The One I Love

Scott McKenzie - *San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)

(*to this day the song that influenced me the most)

The Monkees - Daydream Believer

Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade Of Pale

The Rolling Stones - Let's Spend The Night Together

Cat Stevens - Matthew And Son

So all this music, inspiration and outside influence led me to join my first musical group then. I played bass guitar even though I had no idea about the instrument! But that is another story for another day.

Next week I continue on my journey through the sixties.  Stay with me, it’s a long road but a good one!


Fast forward to February2012! What’s on!

Hospitality Expo-Ireland Venue: RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin

27th-FEB – 29th-FEB

Exhibitors:  300+

Hospitality Expo will be the most comprehensive exhibition of its kind in 2012 targeting each sector of the hospitality industry individually. Split into four distinctive sections it will provide a forum for the interchange of ideas and the establishment of new business contacts

More Information:


Futura Fair - RDS (Royal Dublin Society)

26th Feb 2012 until 27th Feb 2012

In the Futura Fair, upcoming attendees can find out the whole series related to footwear, accessories and outfits for kids, women and men at one single place. It will exhibit a wide range of top most designs of fashion accessories and outfits. In common term, the show will cater to the whole family.

More Information:

Macbeth - The Helix

21st Feb 2012 until 9th Mar 2012

Second Age, Irelands award winning classics theatre company, starts 2012 with one of Shakespeare’s greatest and bloodiest plays. Expect a fast-paced thriller, with a sumptuous design, and high-octane physical performances.

More Information:

TALK TO ME!  What’s happening in your world? Love to hear from you near and far.  I welcome your comments and email’s. [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

Slán go fóill,



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